Real frugalistas know that you should start next year’s holiday shopping the day after Christmas. But let’s face it: Not everyone is in the mood. For me, starting after Labor Day is early enough, unless I spot some perfect and irresistible item in May.
The thing about early holiday shopping is that you have the time to think about purchases and, better yet, to budget for them. You don’t have to blow your credit limit all in one month.
About half of Americans expect to spend less than $1,o00 on holiday gifts in 2023, according to the 2023 Holiday Shopping Trends Report, a survey of over 1,000 shoppers nationwide conducted by automation platform Celigo. And that doesn’t include things like decorations. This year, more than four out of 10 consumers have begun shopping as of September, according to market research company Jungle Scout.
Here are some tips on saving money on holiday gifts, gleaned from experts in the area of wise shopping:
Start watching for sales
That electronic gadget your husband has been craving might go on sale in October. Cruise some stores to see who has the best prices on whatever you’re seeking. And don’t forget about Amazon Prime Day — it’s like Black Friday before Black Friday. This year’s second Prime Day — officially known as Prime Big Deal Days — will be held October 10 and 11, 2023.
If you aren’t currently a Prime member, you can be (free) for 30 days. Sign up here and get in on the Prime Day deals.
Make a list, check it twice, keep it handy
It should include the names of everyone for whom you have to buy. Beside each name, put down an idea or two — don’t be too intent on just one possibility.
Set a budget
Maybe you will spend $100 on your spouse but only $25 on everyone else (or whatever limit you want). Be realistic about what you can buy for that amount, in case you need to adjust it.
Track your purchases — and where you put them!
It’s easy to tuck away that sweater for Mom and then forget you bought it until you go to tally up things before wrapping. A running list of purchases will keep you from buying duplicates, especially if you have a lot of folks to buy for. (Check out our tips for putting together a gift closet that really works for you.)
It’s also a good idea to track when you placed an online purchase and all the information associated with it. One method is to create a folder in your email inbox for online purchases and then create a calendar reminder for the approximate delivery date, or sign up to get automated reminders to track a shipment through the delivery cycle. (Another good reason to shop extra-early is to avoid extended delivery times during the winter holiday crunch period.)
Check out arts and crafts fairs
They’re great for unearthing unique and special items that will say “I thought especially of you.” Also check out marketplaces that carry antiques, collectibles and tons of quirky, unique and unusual items.
Keep track of previous year’s purchases
Once you have that final list of what you bought and for whom it was purchased, don’t throw it away once the presents are wrapped. Save it for next year, so you won’t wonder, “Didn’t I get Grandpa a cardigan last year?” You’ll have it in writing.
So shop early, shop smart and save money. That’s your gift to yourself.
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- Amazon Prime Day – More deals than Black Friday
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- 8 ways to survive (even enjoy) shopping Black Friday